EU imposes new sanctions on Iranians for supplying drones to Russia

The European Union on Monday condemned Iran’s military partnership with Russia as a flagrant violation of international law and announced new sanctions against eight Iranian individuals and entities for their role in supplying drones that Moscow used to attack Ukrainian civilians and infrastructure.

Iranian-made drones have been used “indiscriminately by Russia against the civilian population and infrastructure in Ukraine, causing horrific destruction and human suffering”, the European Council, the EU’s top decision-making body, said in a statement. a statement that widely condemned Iran’s human rights record.

Russia has deployed Iranian-made drones to Ukraine since August, US officials say, using them to attack infrastructure as well as military targets. On Saturday, Russian forces used Iranian drones to cut off power to more than 1.5 million people in the port city of Odessa, far from the front lines.

The four people facing new EU sanctions include the commander-in-chief of Iran’s air force, the head of an Islamic Revolutionary Guards weapons research and development unit and a Revolutionary Guard officer who organized a drone demonstration for Russian forces in August.

Entities added to the sanctions list include what the European Council has described as a “front company” involved in the development of drones used by Russia, as well as a company which the Council says produces drone engines.

The bloc had previously imposed sanctions on Iranians for drone deliveries. In October, the EU imposed restrictions on the chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards air force and Shahed Aviation Industries, the company responsible for designing and develop drones.

More than 1,350 individuals and entities have been subject to an asset freeze and travel ban by the EU since 2014 for actions that “undermined the territorial integrity, sovereignty and Ukrainian independence.

Iran’s military support for Russia has come under increased international scrutiny in recent weeks, although the Kremlin has denied using the Iranian-made drones to attack civilians, and Tehran maintains that all deliveries of drones took place before the invasion of Ukraine by Russia in February.

The Biden administration said on Friday the two countries were forming a “full-fledged defense partnership” that was expected to intensify in the coming months, while British officials warned that Russia was now seeking hundreds of ballistic weapons to Iran in return for an “unprecedented level of military and technical support.

The European Union strongly advised Iran on Monday that any further arms deliveries to Russia, and in particular any move towards delivering short-range ballistic weapons, would be considered “a serious escalation”.

nytimes Eur

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